WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Capitals


All of a sudden, the Boston Bruins aren’t just fighting for a playoff spot … they’re now fighting for a better playoff spot.

The Washington Capitals get to decide if Boston will advance on their top wild card spot, as the two battle it out on Sunday night. You can catch the action on NBCSN or stream it via NBC Live Sports Extra:


Read more about this matchup in this in-depth preview.

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Capitals will break Wild Card tie tonight


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

It wasn’t too long ago that Boston’s playoff position looked vulnerable, but after five straight victories, the Bruins have not only managed to stay six points ahead of the similarly streaking Florida Panthers, but also catch up to the Washington Capitals in the fight for the first Wild Card spot.

“I think we believe in ourselves right now,” said Patrice Bergeron, per the team’s website. “Since the trade deadline, I think it put a lot of guys at ease, kind of realizing that this is our team. The management — from up to Peter [Chiarelli] to Cam [Neely] and everyone down — they all believe in us, and we have to show them that we can do it.

“It’s about doing it every night. Right now, we all need to be leaders and step up and play big.”

Both Washington and Boston have 82 points this season and are equal when it comes to regulation plus overtime wins (33), but the Bruins have a slim edge right now given that they’ve played in one less game. Regardless, the occupant of the first Wild Card seed Monday morning will be the winner of this contest.

In addition to the obvious positioning advantage that would come with a victory tonight, Washington could also use the confidence boost that comes with winning. It has lost three of its last four games and attracted the ire of Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

“Right now we have too many passengers,” Trotz told CSN Washington. “You can’t carry a guy on your back. This league is way too good. If there’s a guy next to you not pulling his weight you can’t carry him. You either get rid of him or give him a shake and tell him to get on the bus and start traveling in the right direction. That’s probably why [the players] had a closed-door meeting, because I told them to fix it.”

The Capitals realize their game has slipped lately and they’re position has been compromised as a result. The silver lining for them is that their fate is still in their hands.

Bruins pass Capitals with fifth straight win


Milan Lucic scored his 15th of the season and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves as the Boston Bruins blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Zdeno Chara added an empty-netter in the final minute.

With the win, Boston has now won five straight and seven of its last nine and moves past the Washington Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have a game in hand on the Caps.

Boston’s win coupled with Detroit’s loss in Philly leaves the Bruins just three points back of the Wings in the Atlantic Division. Detroit has one game in hand.

Pittsburgh played much of the game without both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

Crosby was a late scratch from the lineup due to illness and replaced by Craig Adams following the pre-game skate.

Malkin took a hit from Chris Kelly on his first shift of the game and was shaken up. He left the game briefly, but returned to finish the first period. He did not return to start the second.

Rask’s shutout was his third of the season and the 26th of his career.

Thomas Greiss made 28 saves in the loss.

With Saturday’s victory, Boston wins the season series taking two of three from Pittsburgh. The Penguins won the first meeting 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 24. The Bruins edged the Pens with a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 7.

Bruins bringing Swedish d-man prospect to North America


Linus Arnesson, Boston’s second-round selection (60th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, will be loaned from SHL club Djugardens to the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, per Swedish news outlet Expressen.

Arnesson, 20, is scheduled to travel to North America next week, presumably to join Providence for the stretch drive of the regular season and Calder Cup playoffs. This comes on the heels of 41 appearances for Djugardens this season, in which he registered five assists.

Described as a defensive defenseman, Arnesson was a member of the Swedish teams that won silver at both the 2013 and 2014 World Junior Championships. He signed his entry-level deal with Boston last summer.

Bruins edge Lightning in SO, Stamkos tossed for stick throw


It wasn’t long ago that it looked like the Boston Bruins might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007, but their playoff chances are very good after winning six of their last seven games, including tonight’s 3-2 shootout victory over Tampa Bay.

The Bruins and Lightning traded pretty goals in the first period with Boston’s Ryan Spooner executing a great pass across the crease to David Pastrnak, whose skate hit the puck to beat goaltender Ben Bishop.

Steven Stamkos later stole the puck from Zdeno Chara and flung it past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to net his 37th goal of the campaign.

The Lightning superstar also had a pretty big low moment. With the contest in overtime, Stamkos angrily threw his broken stick, which ended up into the stands. He received a 10-minute misconduct for his actions.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each found the back of the net in the shootout as Rask outdueled Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Drouin.

With those two points, the Boston Bruins have maintained their six-point edge over the Florida Panthers (which also won tonight) in the fight for the second Wild Card spot. With just 15 contests remaining on each team’s schedule, that’s a big edge for Boston to possess.

Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak is over, but with a point gained it has moved into a tie with the Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division, although Montreal still has an edge as it has played in one less game.